“We are not an organization, we are a family.” was the main message of the night during the 2nd grand reunion of Bohol’s DOST scholars alumni at Bohol Bee Farm last December 30, 2014. The first grand reunion was held way back 5 years ago, 2009, at Metro Center Hotel here in Bohol. The event was graced with the alumni scholars from different batches, the oldies and the newly-graduated DOST scholars in Bohol. Despite the bad weather due to typhoon Seniang that hampered Bohol, the grand reunion was still very successful.
Since the grand reunion was conducted at Bohol Bee Farm in Panglao Island, there were vehicles provided for the alumni scholars in front of the St. Joseph Cathedral. Travel time from Tagbilaran City to Bohol Bee Farm usually takes around 20 minutes of travel. Bohol Bee Farm is already famous because of the delicious meals from organically-grown vegetables on its farm. One example that makes the place famous is the eating of flowers like bougainvillea and gumamela and the honey of the cultured bees. Bohol Bee Farm has a beautiful area with a big hall which can accommodate more guests. With this, Bohol Bee Farm was a perfect choice for the grand reunion.
Upon arrival at the venue, the registration was conducted with the giving of reunion’s official shirts. Written on the shirt were the words, “got roots? DOST SA BOHOL”. After the registration, greetings from the fellow alumni scholars were very noticeable at the place. There were laughters and hugging around the place. Most of the people were busy on the photo booth that were set up to take a photo of the event with the fellow scholars. There were also available snacks for the participants while making chitchats with their friends. The most popular snacks during that time was the ice cream stand with various flavors including malunggay and other organic foods.
The grand reunion kicked off with a thanksgiving mass at Bohol Bee Farm hall. Right after the mass, the election of new set of officers was conducted. It was also agreed during the session that the next grand reunion will be after 5 years, 2019. To make the event more organized considering the huge numbers of DOST scholars alumni by that time, scholars from batches 2002 and 2007 volunteered to organize the event. The reunion got even more exciting with the introduction of the Human Bingo Black-out game. Each person was given a card. Written on the card were various descriptions that would fit for a specific person. In order to win the game, the scholar must get the name and its corresponding signature from the scholar graduate. Some of the descriptions that were written on the cards were “Scholar who had OJT in Luzon”, “Scholar who Graduated Valedictorian in HS”, “Board Topnotcher” and many others. Once all the boxes were already filled with the names and signatures, the scholar must submit the card as fast as he could. The game was really fun and entertaining since you need to approach each person whether he/she is qualified for that description.
Most of us were delighted when the announcement about the dinner was made. Served during the dinner were various organic foods including brown rice and the popular salad with flowers. There were also foods in the buffet which included lechon and other foods with meat. The meal was served with a very delicious lemon grass juice. What makes the dinner more sumptuous was the inclusion of dessert buffet. Various types of desserts from cakes, brownies, cookies, donuts and many others were set up on an assigned corner. With all those foods being served to us, we were very full which made us to get lazy for the next round of Human Bingo Black-out game. Since the association got more donations from the fellow scholar graduates, there was a raffle with electronic gadgets such as tablets and mobile phones for the major prizes. Unluckily, I was not able to get any prize from the raffle.
To make the grand reunion more memorable, a program which was hosted by the ongoing DOST scholars in Bohol was conducted. Speeches from Sir Marcial Tanggaan, Maam Editha Chatto and Maam Vina Antopina were heard during the program. Sir Marcial emphasized the growing numbers of scholars in Bohol. Maam Editha Chatto weighed more on the saying about “Building big dreams.”. She made the attention of the participants to focus on her speech by giving each letter of the word BUILD a meaning. According to her,”B stands for Build/Better, U for Unity, I for Individual, L for Leader and D for Dreams.”. Her speech was truly inspiring by saying that as a scholar we need to dream big by building a better community. Of course, Maam Vina Antopina’s speech was very emotional. She recounted all the hardships she encountered just to put up the event. She may have been related to yelling to the scholars but according to her she just wanted us to learn and to follow the right things which was very true to our case.
While watching the performances of the ongoing scholars, I was thinking what would I do if I am currently an ongoing scholar. Would I be willing to perform in front of the scholar graduates? If ever I performed in front of the alumni, could I entertain them? Those were just some of the questions that popped up on my mind while watching the entertaining numbers being prepared by the ongoing scholars. The first act of their performance was a dance number of Where Have You Been. That was a very good question for the scholar graduates whether we have already reached our ambitions and satisfied with what we have already achieved. According to the host, everything has already levelled up compared to the time when we were the scholars. The host enumerated some of the items that have already levelled up such as the allowances, tuition fees, books to gadgets and many more. He said that the talent of the ongoing scholars have also levelled up which made him to introduce into a magic act. There were also performances on dancing to the music of Treasure, copying a viral youtube video which includes the dancing chimpanzees and different styles of singing. The act that made the crowd to keep on laughing was the story of Eunice and Pugoy. The performers were very professional with what they had done. They delivered the lines at the right time and contents were very funny and witty. They portrayed a case of testing the capability of a DOST scholar which showed their skills in solving different problems, general information and even english grammars. The way they acted every situation made the audience to keep on laughing. The program ended with a mass dance to the music of Pharrell’s Happy. After the program, taking of pictures on the stage and jamming with the band followed.
As a scholar graduate who has already graduated for 6 years already, I am very thankful to the DOST scholarship for the opportunity of making us to finish college. Without DOST, I may not be able to finish college or maybe I have chosen a different career path now. With the help of DOST, more students were able to make their dreams come into a reality.
DOST Scholar’s Association in Bohol is very much thankful also to our beloved mother, Maam Vina Antopina, for always guiding the DOST scholars. The task of getting all the scholar graduates to come into one place is not part of her job description as a DOST employee but she still managed to do it at her extra time. Our salute to you Maam Vina for always making the association more lively and bonded as always.
This blog may have been so long to read but I do hope that this could help to inspire those who aspire to be a DOST scholar or to the ongoing scholars on what would awaits them once they have already graduated as a DOST scholar in Bohol. More power to the DOST Scholar Alumni Association in Bohol and more grand reunions to come!